James Colten: Why/how did you title your new EP, “Faith, the Poor, and Politics”?
Josh Schicker: The words, "Faith, the Poor and Politics," come directly from the lyrics of the song, "Heaven's Pavement", which is about spiritual pride and how can it keep us and others from experiencing grace. Most of the songs were finished and recorded before I chose it and it was not an easy choice. As the title, it is the best I could do to summarize the themes of the whole project. The songs range from personal reflections on love and commitment to religious zeal and introspection. My wife and I recently moved to Atlanta, GA where I serve at a church in and urban area. These three words have kind of been the theme of the challenges in my personal life as well.
JC: This is your sixth solo release. When did you release your first album? How has your music evolved since then?
JS: My music has been on a journey from being an individual artist to an artist in community. My first solo release was in 2001. It was recorded in the gothic-style chapel at Hope College in Holland, MI with simple instrumentation and a lot of natural reverb. Since then I've recorded a full studio album in Nashville, a live EP and several independent projects I recorded by myself at home. In contrast, this latest project was made possible by volunteered time by nearly everyone involved. I can remember the songs I wrote for that first project being very autobiographical while my newer songs reflect a wider perspective. Things are more meaningful when they represent and involve your community.
JC: What are some of the social justice / political / spiritual issues you thinking about during the song writing process?
JS: There are really two themes I gravitate toward as a writer: reconciliation and telling the truth. As I observe the world it occurs to me that these two subjects are at the heart of many of humanity's conflicts as well as many victories. In the song, "Small Change", I try to reconcile the fact that there are millions of people who do not have access to clean water while I have unlimited access to it here in Atlanta. My response to the call to reconciliation needs to reflect my values both as a Christian and as a human being. I've partnered with a clean water non-profit [Blood:Water Mission] over the years in an attempt to raise awareness of the problem and funds to help combat it. Just like a drop in the ocean, every conversation can have a ripple effect that has an unknown end result.
Dan Bos: engineering/mixing/mastering
David Purnell: engineering
Josh Schicker: producer/vocals/acoustic guitars
Necia Ornée: vocals
Danny Reyes: drums
Mark Dykema: electric guitars, acoustic guitars
Daniel Maat: bass guitar
Dan Patterson: drums
Rob Stam: piano
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